This scanned negative comes from the same set as the Jersey series, but this time our holidaymakers have left domestic shores and, it would appear, gone to the Alps. Looking at the scene through twenty-first century eyes, one cannot help noticing the flimsiness of the chairlift - it has the look of a deckchair suspended from wires high above a pine forest. After the comparative safety of a Jersey beach and tearoom our 1950 tourists are living life dangerously.
And then we went to Newquay. It was the year after the holiday in Jersey (or perhaps it was the year before) And we didn't go with the big crowd this time, it was just Jeff and me (or was it Colin or Frank). That's the trouble with lost and found negatives - you never quite know. But that certainly is the famous footbridge in Newquay - just behind our Betty (or was it Joan)?
A further scan from the photographs of a group of friends who, by now, are becoming rather familiar to us - it's the Jersey Boys (and Jersey Girls). We can tell they are still on the island from the lifebuoy hanging conveniently just in shot. I can make out Jersey and the other word might well be "harbour" - and the wall at the back certainly has the strength and solidity of a typical harbour wall.
Once again, a rough guess at the date would come up with the mid 1950s - that half smoked cigarette tucked behind the ear is as accurate a marker as any date stamp.
There is always an element of pleasing mystery when you buy a job lot of old photographs or negatives from one of the on-line auction sites. There are the usual "what", "where", and "who" questions - most of which will inevitably go unanswered - but there is also the question of what connects the various images. Are they the same family, the same holiday, the same photography - or are they a desperate lot thrown together from the contents of several old shoeboxes?
When I started scanning the current batch< i came across a beach scene which could be accurately identified as St Brelade's Bay in Jersey. The second scan moves us a few miles along the coast, to the unforgettable landmark of La Corbiere Lighthouse. A good percentage of visitors to the island of Jersey have had a similar photograph taken (I certainly have). Who exactly this is, I still have no idea - but I know where she's been.
"Midbay" has a slightly un-British ring to it, more fitted, perhaps, to an Australian surf-pounded beach or a location in a Raymond Chandler novel. But the people featured in this scan of a long-lost negative of unknown origins, have a half-familiar feel to them - they are faces from my youth, stances from my memories. Midbay was relatively easy to pin down - there is a Midbay in St Brelade's Bay on the island of Jersey. A comparison with an on-line archive shot of the Midbay stores confirms the location. Who the group are, I have absolutely no idea at all, but it is the kind of photograph you can take a stroll around - look at a face here, a connection there. Even the smallest, most grain-infested corner can be turned into an impressionist's picnic.
There is such an air of confidence about this young chap - legs crossed, hands firmly pocketed and a smile that radiates satisfaction. The small, faded photograph came to me as a lost and unloved - but how could anyone not love this epitome of a 1920s delivery boy. A little research reveals that the firm must be that of W G Pannett who were confectioners in Horsham, West Sussex. Now that we have a name and location, perhaps somebody will step forward and claim him.
A second photograph was in the same batch of unwanted and unloved photographs that arrived through my letterbox. The hat may not be bigger than the first, but it is definitely grander. The outfit appears to have enough fur and feathers to kit out a turkey. The costumes alone would demand all the resources of a modern credit card.
What do you do if you can only afford a little photograph? Well you can make sure you are wearing a big hat for starters. And then you can get a big frame. But even with the big hat and big frame, the final product is only about the size of a modern credit card.
I am not quite sure what a "roadster" was, but surely this must have been one. Mud guards that have the curves of an Impressionist's model, a steering wheel that looks as if it was designed for serious steering, and a running board every young buck would want to jump upon. And within it there is a party going on, and everyone has put their best hat on for the occasion. I suspect that the photograph dates from the mid 1920s, and the rest of the photographs in this eBay purchase were definitely British. Usually you can pin cars down by the position of the steering wheel, but this one seems to be covering all options by having a central wheel.
This small Victorian portrait card measures just 2.5 by 1.5 inches and was of a size known, appropriately enough, as a midget. Such cards never achieved the popularity of their larger cousins - the carte-de-visite and the cabinet card - but they were popular for a time in the 1890s because they were significantly cheaper than the larger cards. In the early 1890s, Henry Spinks would sell you a dozen midget cards for just four shillings and sixpence. Who this particular midget is, I have no idea: but she is a midget gem.
1707-133 : TWO THEATRICALS Two more smilers, but this time I suspect there are differences. First of all we have, I think, two women ...
1707-130 : VICTORIAN COUPLE WITH SMILES This Victorian couple are both smiling, which is rare for photographs of this age. It wasn...
This small Victorian portrait card measures just 2.5 by 1.5 inches and was of a size known, appropriately enough, as a midget . Such car...